Home renovation

Home improvement projects you can tackle for around $20,000

If there’s only one room in your home you’d like to change, deciding to renovate can be as simple as figuring out how to finance the project, finding the right contractor, and setting a timeline. But what if you have several projects you would like to complete and a set budget of $20,000?

We asked home improvement and real estate experts for tips on how to spend wisely on a renovation.

“The first question we ask everyone is how long they plan to stay in the house,” says Chuck Khiel, vice president of Fred Home Improvement, a division of Case Architects & Remodelers in the Washington area. . “If you’re staying forever, it makes sense to do something you really want to do, whether or not it improves your home’s value. If you are selling in three to five years or sooner, you are more focused on your [recoupment] on investment.

No matter how long you stay, you should always consider the resale value of the project to make sure you’re making a smart investment, says Mischa Fisher, chief economist at Angi, the home services platform formerly known as the name of Home Advisor and Angie’s. List.

“While we would all like to tackle ‘wants’ before ‘needs’, it’s important to prioritize needs first,” says Fisher. “Always prioritize safety-related repairs. There could be repairs that seem small or insignificant now that could become much bigger, riskier, and more expensive if ignored for too long.

A $20,000 budget can buy a lot of renovations, but it might not be enough to complete all of your projects. Here are some popular choices to consider:

Remodeling the average kitchen costs between $25,000 and $40,000, says Fisher. The return on investment for kitchen updates can be over 70%, he says.

“I would cross the kitchen off the list if you have $20,000 because that’s not enough to update it to make it worth selling,” says Craig McCullough, Catalyst Group Director with Compass Real Estate in Washington. “If your whole kitchen is outdated, it’s better to offer buyers $50,000 to pay for their kitchen remodel than to do a piecemeal update.”

» LEARN MORE: These Kitchen Features Can Help You Sell Your Home

If you’re focused on spending $20,000 on your kitchen, replacing countertops, adding LED lighting under cabinets and installing a new tile backsplash offers a nice facelift, suggests Khiel. , especially if your counters are in good condition. You can also paint the cabinets within this budget.

The cost to remodel an average-sized bathroom is $10,800, according to Fisher. How much you spend will depend on the quality of fixtures and finishes you choose. Reconfiguring a bathroom and moving plumbing and electrical connections adds significantly to the cost.

“You can paint the bathroom, change the vanity, medicine cabinet, lighting, flooring, and accessories for less than $20,000,” says Khiel. “You may also be able to line a cast iron tub within this budget.”

The big difference is in the materials, says Khiel.

READ MORE: Home bathrooms are changing in the pandemic, just like they did in 1918

“You can find good quality, attractive items in the mid-range, but you can also spend $8,000 just on the wardrobe,” he says. “Your [recoupment] the investment is around 70% if you stick to a mid-level quality. »

McCullough suggests sellers focus on updating the master bathroom with the bulk of a $20,000 budget, then spend a small amount replacing the floor and wall tiles and the vanity in the master bathroom. guest bathroom, if required.

Completing a partially finished or unfinished basement provides more living space and increases your resale value, Fisher says. He says the average cost to finish a basement is just under $20,000, but that can be much higher or lower depending on the amount of work involved. The payback for finishing a basement can be over 70%, says Fisher.

“Every jurisdiction in the DC area requires permits to partially or completely finish a basement, which increases the cost,” says Khiel. “You need permits if you frame or enclose a space with walls, drawings for permits, and electrical, heating, air conditioning, and insulation work.”

READ MORE: Which home renovations are worth the cost? Less than you think

McCullough says a renovation project that simply requires changing floors and painting could be done for a lot less than $20,000, but completing a basement would cost well over that budget.

“Some of the main factors to budget for include labor, flooring, waterproofing, lighting, electrical, furniture, sump pump installation, ceiling, drywall , insulation, plumbing, painting, decorating and permits, as well as doors, windows and walls,” says Fisher. “Start with the necessities and work with a contractor to make sure everything is done in the right order and up to code.”

Replacing or redoing the flooring, painting or wallpapering the walls and ceiling, and building or redesigning the storage space are aspects of the master bedroom that have a good return on investment and impact your daily life, says Fisher. . These projects can easily fit into a budget of $20,000.

Khiel says most homeowners expand their closet space if they can, and some request custom built-in cabinets for storage and a TV. He also suggests adding crown molding or wainscoting or replacing doors within a $20,000 budget.

READ MORE: Renovating a home together can challenge a relationship. Compromise is the key.

“Changing the windows can also come into the budget, but you have to be careful if they no longer match the windows in the adjacent walls,” says Khiel. “Windows can be very expensive, so some people make a wall a year to spread out the expense.”

Adding a ceiling fan or recessed lighting can also improve the look of a master bedroom. And those are two items shoppers value, McCullough says.

Adding a deck or patio can improve your home’s resale value with a payback of up to 65 percent, Fisher says. The increase in outdoor living space has become especially popular during the pandemic. Fisher says adding a deck ranges from $4,000 to $11,250 for most homeowners, but costs increase depending on the size of the deck and the materials used.

“A $20,000 deck would be maybe 200 square feet if it was wood, but if you want a composite material like Trex, that size deck will cost you between $30,000 and $40,000 because the prices are so high right now,” Khiel says.

» READ MORE: Rooftop terraces are becoming a must-have for Philadelphia homeowners and buyers

Fisher says there’s a sweet spot for the good-sized bridge.

“Too small and you’re unlikely to use it much, too big and you can lose your whole garden,” he says.

For the biggest impact of a $20,000 investment in your home, McCullough suggests replacing or refinishing all of the floors in the house.

» READ MORE: How to buy new flooring? Reviews of Suppliers and Installers in the Delaware Valley

“It’s important even if you have a relatively new home, because developers often install cheaper flooring when building a condo or group of homes,” McCullough says.